Now that Life is Strange: True Colors has come and gone, it’s finally time for us to start thinking about the next mainline instalment. Or, any next instalment, for that matter. With Before the Storm, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit and now Wavelengths, there’s always room for new spin-offs and prequels. They’re always welcome, too. Due to the latest entry being a DLC, however, I can see the next one hopefully being none other than Life is Strange 4.
As we now know, Deck Nine has taken over the franchise after Dontnod moved on from their beloved franchise. This sees the series going in a fresh direction as of True Colors, expanding the universe substantially with new characters, locations and stories. At first, I was a little sceptical after hearing that Deck Nine would take over the series simply because of Before the Storm which was, in my opinion, not one of the stronger entries. However, with the creative freedom that the third mainline instalment would bring, Deck Nine was able to hit the ball way out of the park. Now only one last question lingers. What will Life is Strange 4 bring?
While we are probably still a long way off hearing anything regarding the next entry in the series, the thought is inevitably on every Life is Strange fan’s mind. Who will we see next? Where will they be? What power will they have? There are no clear answers to any of these questions just yet, but we should be getting hints and teasers in the years to come. From the latest extensions to the universe, though, we can surely expect to see certain aspects remain intact.
Bringing Back Beloved Faces
From True Colors and Wavelengths, we know that Deck Nine truly respects and cherishes the series’ past. Bringing back Steph and Mikey from Before the Storm as well as giving us a few audio flashbacks to Chloe and Rachel really shows that they want this world to feel connected to its roots. This is something that I appreciate. A new direction doesn’t have to mean a fresh start. I especially enjoyed that, before playing Wavelengths, you get to state whether or not you chose to sacrifice Arcadia Bay. This keeps our decisions from the first game consistent in our own individual stories without alienating one of the two endings.
While I do love the call-backs and the side characters coming back to give us glimpses of the past, it is pleasing to observe that each mainline instalment brings us a fresh set of characters, stories, powers and places. Life is Strange 4 should surely do the same.
Taking Us To New Horizons
So far, we’ve seen the quaint, seaside town of Arcadia Bay, travelled across western USA into the golden beaches of Mexico and relished in the gorgeous Haven Springs. No mainline instalment has been set in the same place or delved into the same characters, as this is what the universe was set out to be. No matter how much we all love and miss Max and Chloe, in terms of the main story, their journey with us is over. They’re out there, living their lives in whatever reality we put them in. It’s time to visit somewhere new.
Dontnod confirmed that Max and Chloe wouldn’t be making a return, and it appears that Deck Nine is reinforcing this idea. This doesn’t mean we won’t see them again in some form, such as in a spin-off game or the live-action TV show for example. Their story in the main games, however, is done. This allows the developers to take us to new horizons, to take us on a new adventure, to tell other people’s stories and to champion unheard voices. At the heart of each main instalment are a character and a power in a new place.
Giving Players A Moment of Calm
As dramatic and dark as these stories can get, they often provide a unique sense of comfort that other games just can’t quite deliver. Immersing us in a world of relatable characters and a comforting place can really help distract us from the real world, even if just for a while. Arcadia Bay and its nostalgic narrative with Chloe offered us this get-away from our own lives and even the sinister secrets of the town. Haven Springs and its lush scenery alongside the free-roaming nature of the third game gave us plenty of time to explore and lose ourselves in small side quests for a little while.
After playing Wavelengths and therefore finishing True Colors completely, I once again feel like I’ve just lost this get-away. Sure, I can replay it, but it’s not quite the same unless I come back to it after at least a good few months. I believe that Life is Strange 4 will find a way to deliver this feeling once again, that escapism to another world of adventure, mystery and nostalgia. I can’t wait to see what’s next, and more specifically, who’s next.
If you haven’t yet played the latest game, Life is Strange: True Colors, I highly recommend you dive in. All five episodes are available now on all major platforms. As for those of us who have played them all, let’s look forward to the Remastered Collection, releasing in February 2022.